At 18%, forest cover in Scotland is low both historically, and in comparison to other countries in Europe. Globally, forest restoration is accepted as an important mechanism to deliver biodiversity and climate change targets. In Scotland, this has been framed as a government aspiration for woodland expansion, to deliver a wide range of objectives. However, there are diverse values held with regards to the Scottish landscape and the amount and types of woodland wanted. This presentation outlines a methodology used to explore different ‘visions’, or ‘plausible and coherent descriptions of positive futures’ for woodland expansion in a Scottish context. A document analysis of over 50 existing policies and plans from various Scottish stakeholders involved in forestry, conservation and land use has revealed that there are at least five distinct visions for how woodland expansion and forestry might develop in Scotland over the next century. These visions formed the focal point for a national level stakeholder workshop, as well as additional semi-structured interviews, where input was received on how the visions might look and work into the 21st century. A brief outline of each of the visions will be given, and conclusions will be drawn linking the visions to future agent based modelling work, which will aim to understand the effect of alternative governance strategies on the role that woodland expansion may have in developing sustainable social-ecological systems in Scottish landscapes.
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